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State Institutions : State Hospitals

A guide to researching records of hospitals, prisons, and other institutions operated by the State of Minnesota.

About State Hospitals

Minnesota established the first hospital for the insane, as it was then known, at St. Peter in 1866.  As the population grew, several other hospitals were added, some focusing on particular types of illnesses, disabilities, or age groups.  In 1985 several of the state hospitals became regional treatment centers, many offering outpatient services.  Over time, several hospitals closed and the state developed a more community-based approach to the care and treatment of the patients formerly housed in these large facilities.  Records for these facilities document their operations as well as some of the patients who resided there.  Among the state hospitals for which the Library holds records are:

  • Anoka State Hospital: The first state hospital in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, opened in 1900.
  • Brainerd State Hospital: (Opened in 1958)
  • Cambridge State Hospital: Opened in1925 as the Colony for Epileptics.  It closed in 1997.
  • Faribault State School and Hospital: Opened in1879 as an experimental department of the Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind for "idiotic and feeble-minded children" and then became a separate institution.  The institution had several name changes before its closure in1998.
  • Fergus Falls State Hospital: Initially named the third state hospital for the insane, operated between 1890 and 2004.
  • Hastings State Hospital: (Operated 1900-1978)
  • Rochester State Hospital: Began as the Minnesota Inebriate Asylum in 1879.  In 1893 the name was changed to Rochester State Hospital.  It closed in1982.
  • St. Peter State Hospital: The first state hospital, opened in 1866.  A separate institution, also located in St. Peter, the Minnesota Security Hospital/Asylum for the Dangerous Insane, was opened in 1907.
  • Willmar State Hospital: Originally named the Hospital Farm for Inebriates, serving patients who voluntarily sought treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs, was open between 1912 and 2008.

Researching State Hospitals

For more information about researching State Hospitals, visit our State Hospital Research Guide

State Hospital Links

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Gale Family Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library

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